The parole board scene, like many other sequences here, attests to the filmmakers' skill at unobtrusively entering the prisoners' world and at avoiding trite, melodramatic ideas about incarceration. No cafeteria fights or tin cups banging bars here; the inmates have become a tractable group thanks to the virtual hopelessness of their situation. Some, like the model prisoner Ashanti Witherspoon, who was sentenced to 75 years for armed robbery and now counsels new inmates about what they can expect, have become the helpful citizens they never were before. All speak of their past crimes as if they were part of a separate life.
— Janet Maslin Film Review of The Farm (1998) New York Times, June 10, 1998
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